WBU Albuquerque Graduate Honored as Distinguished Alum

Gonzales receives an award
Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III (left) receives the Distinguished Alumni Award from Albuquerque campus Executive Director Dr. Tom Fisher at the June 1 graduation ceremony. Photo by Amber McCloud, WBU.

ALBUQUERQUE – Manuel Gonzales III, sheriff of Bernalillo County, N.M., was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Wayland Baptist University’s Albuquerque Campus during the June 1 commencement ceremony.

Sheriff Gonzales is a veteran, having served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Central New Mexico Community College and earned his bachelor’s degree in from Wayland. For professional development in law enforcement, he also completed Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Western States Sheriff’s Association’s Leadership Course, The Southern Police Institute’s Chief Executive Leadership Course, The National Sheriff’s Institute’s Executive Level Management Education and Training, and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Executive Certification.

Gonzales began his career on August 14, 1989. Over the span of 24 years, the Sheriff has served in all divisions, commands, and shifts within the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. He worked his way through the ranks of the department and promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. He was unanimously appointed Sheriff on November 30, 2009 by the Bernalillo County Commission, when the sitting Sheriff resigned.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III was sworn into office on January 1, 2010. Bernalillo County is the most populous county in the State of New Mexico with approximately 750,000 residents. Bernalillo County encompasses the greater Albuquerque area. As Sheriff, he has committed himself to serving the citizens and staff of his agency.

Sheriff Gonzales and his command staff share a vision of the Sheriff’s Department as a model law enforcement agency. Sheriff Gonzales’s service and involvement in the community has earned him respect throughout the law enforcement community and Bernalillo County. His principles of accountability, collaboration, and fair and impartial service have made the Sheriff’s Office the most progressive, proactive, and revered agencies in the region.

“Wayland’s alumni are great examples of what makes this university so special in their service and character, and Sheriff Gonzales is no different,” said Teresa Young, director of alumni relations at Wayland. “We are honored to call him part of our Wayland family, and it was no surprise given his accomplishments that our Albuquerque campus chose him as their first alumni honoree.”

Wayland’s Association of Former Students has presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to graduates over the homecoming weekend for many years. The program was expanded this year to include a winner for each campus’ alumni, with Gonzales being the fifth honored in 2018. By the time homecoming festivities are celebrated in October, a total of 16 alumni will have been selected and celebrated across the system.